Martin Truex Jr. wins Playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway

Martin Truex Jr. gets checkered flag.

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Martin Truex Jr. the “Jersey Boy” wins the opening NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Playoff race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.

The regular season champion had a challenging victory at the Tales of the Turtles 400, giving him his fifth win of the season, second straight in Chicagoland and 12th of his career.  He had to dominate in the end to defeat the second place finisher Chase Elliott in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Black Toyota.  Truex Jr. crossed the finish line and checkered flag with a comfortable 7.179 second win.

The victory earned him the right to advance automatically to the Round of 8, putting him in a strong position setting a tone that he is in it to win.

Truex Jr. had to overcome a speeding penalty in pit-road on Lap 39 and with loose lug nuts forcing him to return to pit-road and restart way down in the field after the end of Stage 1 which was looking like a major setback at the time it all occurred.

The Jersey Boy certainly had the power and speed to overcome his challenges. Meanwhile, other drivers were not so lucky as seven time champion Jimmie Johnson who finished in eighth place in the No. 48 Chevrolet did not have the speed to compete and challenge the top contenders.

Kyle Busch who won Stage 1 rather easily took a green/checkered flag at the end of the first Lap 80 segment of the race.  On Lap 88 after a restart he had to return to pit-road due to a loose wheel.  During the stop one of the pit crew members was flagged for stepping over the wall to soon slapping a penalty for a major setback.  He ended up in 15th place in one of the fastest race cars on the track.

The top five positions included Chase Elliot in second, Kevin Harvick third, Denny Hamlin fourth and Kyle Larson fifth.  Brad Keselowski finished one spot outside the top five in sixth place giving the top six spots to all playoff drivers.

Next week the Monster Energy Cup Series will move on to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday September 24th at 2:00 PM eastern time for the running of the ISM Connect 300.  All the racing action can be followed by our great local racing fans on NBCSN, PRN, and Streaming on NBC Sports.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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